Sinn Féin meet with Women’s Aid and NEXUS
A Sinn Féin delegation consisting of Michaela Boyle MLA, Linda Dillon MLA, Megan Fearon MLA, Raymond McCartney MLA and Councillor Claire Canavan met with Women’s Aid and NEXUS to discuss rape crisis services and the conduct of rape trials in the north.
Speaking after the meeting Michaela Boyle said:
"Sinn Féin called for a review of the current procedures and hope that the Lord Chief Justice’s intervention will be the first step in that process.
“We expressed serious concerns as to how cases involving rape or allegations of rape are handled, particularly around the invasive and combative cross-examination of witnesses, the impact of media coverage of such cases and the way some in society view women.
“Rape and sexual assault cases are always going to be traumatic and difficult but there are additional measures that can be taken.
“These include withholding any publication of the names of the complainant and defendant until the outcome of the case has been decided; clearing of the public gallery; and while the media should be permitted to attend, any reporting on such cases should be barred until the conclusion of the trial.
“We also support the call from Women’s Aid and NEXUS for funding to provide and develop a professional, rape crisis service for the north to support victims of rape and sexual assault.”